Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin Trout: 5 Keys to Light Middleweight Title Bout

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2013

Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin Trout: 5 Keys to Light Middleweight Title Bout

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    This weekend’s battle between WBC junior middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and WBA champ Austin “No Doubt” Trout (who are ranked fourth and second by the TBRB) will showcase the best of what boxing has to offer. Let’s face it, the sweet science hardly ever gives us a fight like this, where two undefeated up-and-comers face each other at the peak of their game.

    At only 22 years of age, Canelo Alvarez is already considered by many to be the future of the sport. Meanwhile, Austin Trout left fight fans no doubt about being one of the top fighters in the sport last December, when he upset Miguel Cotto in New York. With neither man a clear-cut favorite, Showtime’s television audience, as well as the 36,000 fans expected to be in attendance in the Alamo Dome that night, should expect big things from perhaps the most anticipated battle of boxing’s busy spring.  

Is Miguel Cotto Still Miguel Cotto?

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    Interestingly enough, this fight may come down to Miguel Cotto. When Trout defeated the Puerto Rican superstar last year, Trout’s profile as an elite star grew by leaps and bounds. Not only did he outbox and outfox the hard punching Cotto, Trout showed he just plain wanted it more by taking the fight to the proven warrior round after round.

    At age 32, though, and coming off a loss in a tremendous effort against Floyd Mayweather in his previous bout, one has to wonder if Miguel Cotto is still the fighter he once was, or if he left his last bit of greatness in the ring against the incomparable Mayweather. If so, Austin Trout may be in for a long night against Canelo Alvarez.

Can Canelo Be Clever?

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    When Alvarez won his coming out party against faded great “Sugar” Shane Mosley last May, he shocked many spectators by the way he did it. Where conventional wisdom said he’d simply walk the naturally smaller Mosley down, Alvarez instead employed a strategy that included bouncing up on his toes and boxing. By the time he was done, in fact, he had punched Mosley more than any other fighter had ever done.

    While again conventional wisdom says he’ll need to be the bull to Trout’s matador, expect Alvarez to alternate his strategy more than a few times during Saturday’s twelve rounder by boxing on his toes. His success or failure when he does so will go a long way towards his success or failure in the fight. 

Putting the POW in Power

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    When the bell rings Saturday night, both fighters will believe they have what it takes to hurt the other. Alvarez has butchered four of his last five opponents within the distance, and is generally thought of as the more powerful puncher of the two. Still, Trout told media members during last week’s conference call his power is under appreciated, and that he expects to be able to hurt Alvarez enough for it to matter.

    In boxing, one punch can be the difference between winning and losing. Expect the fighter who establishes his power first to win the fight. While Alvarez might be the naturally harder puncher, Trout could use his opponent's forward aggression against him, giving his long range punches added pop. 

The Dance

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    While all fights have ebbs and flows, expect Canelo Alvarez to come forward and Austin Trout to mill on the retreat. Alvarez will want to cut off the ring, use direct lines and touch Trout up and down the body early to slow him down as the bout progresses. Meanwhile, Trout will try and use deft footwork and clever angles to put himself in position to hit his opponent with clean, effective blows while minimizing return fire. Expect Trout to use circular angles to try and keep Alvarez off of him.

    Whichever fighter can have the most success at making the fight as he wants it will be the victor of the fight. If Alvarez can keep Trout in front him for most of the fight and maul up against the ropes, he’ll have success. But if Trout can make Alvarez miss and keep him confused, he’ll take home the prize.

Texas-Sized Problems

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    There is perhaps no state more beleaguered by the boxing press for bad judging than the state of Texas. Unfortunately, it is for very good reason. The Lone Star State has consistently put itself in the spotlight with boneheaded mistakes and bogus decisions. So much so, in fact, that famed boxing writer Thomas Hauser likened it’s officiating of fights to that of professional wrestling.

    No one wants to see a fight like this determined by bogus officiating, but the possibility of it affecting an outcome in Texas is just too large to ignore. If there are shenanigans to be had in Texas, expect them to be had for Mexican superstar, Alvarez.